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Crime/Mystery Series: Lord Peter Wimsey

"And they say as they're asking the Duke of Denver to come down and open the Cut, but we haven't heard yet if he'll come."

"He'll come all right," said Wimsey. "Dash it, he shall come. He does no work and it will do him good."

"Indeed, sir?" said the waiter, a little dubiously, not knowing the cause of this certainty, but unwilling to offend.

--The Nine Tailors,
Dorothy Sayers



Dorothy Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey

About the Author


About the Character

(In case you came to this page you are reading from a search engine instead of through its site, I will here repeat the brief remarks on the main mystery/crime page that points here.)

Lord Peter is the archetype of the fictive amateur sleuth (Holmes was not a policeman, but neither was he an amateur--he charged fees): a wealthy (and well-connected) aristocrat from one of the first families of England--dapper, urbane, a polymath--who has decided that his contribution to society (noblesse oblige) will be solving crimes. That is a horrid formula (and the very first Wimsey novel not very good), but Sayers' powerful intelligence informs the tales (mostly novels) throughout, making them entertaining and raising the characters to a surprisingly high level of plausibility. We never really and fully believe in any of them, but they are delightful company all. In the later books, Peter is forever romancing the love of his life, Harriet Vane (curiously, a female writer of mystery fiction), who forever politely and friendlily rebuffs him, an ongoing saga-within-a-saga that some readers find delightful and others highly irritating. But the books rightly rank high in the field.


The Books

There are a mere eleven pure Sayers Wimsey novels, plus a number of short stories; there is also a draft novel completed by Another Hand, plus one (maybe more) wholly new Wimsey novels by the same Other Hand (Jill Paton Walsh).

In these lists, the links are all to used-book searches for the title (via Abebooks). Some few can still be found in print new, but not many. As usual, the search results are sorted from lowest price up (note that, as always in used-book searches from this site, the price sort is by actual book price, not total shipped price, though each listing also always shows the true total shipped cost; occasionally, a slightly more expensive title will be slightly cheaper shipped--but the differences are never much and you can easily eyeball those cases.) Most titles represent a number of varying editions, from original hardcovers to late paperback reprints.


The Individual Novels

Purely by Dorothy Sayers
By Dorothy Sayers and/or Jill Paton Walsh

Short Stories

Sayers worked mainly in the novel form, but wrote enough Wimsey short stories to make up a book. (In fact, she made up two books, but since the shorts are now available in a single volume, why look elsewhere?)


The Annotated Peter Wimsey

There isn't one, exactly, in the sense of an edition of the tales with annotations (because they're still in copyright). But there's a book that is essentially the annotations without the tales, and it is thus aptly named The Lord Peter Wimsey Companion, Stephen Clarke being the author. The original is now extremely rare and fantastically expensive, but copies of the Second Edition (an expanded one, at that), issued by the Sayers Society, may occasionally be available at plausible prices--try the link to see.


Other Sayers Detectives

Sayers produced some stories about the unofficial detective exploits of a travelling salesman with the unlikely name of Montague Egg; those appear in two of Sayer's short-story collections intermixed with Wimsey tales. She also produced a one-off epistolary murder novel, co-written with "Robert Eustace" (Dr. Eustace Robert Barton), a physician who collaborated with several mystery writers, presumably supplying the appropriate expertise for cases turning on medical matters.


Omnibus Editions

There are a few; this list may be incomplete--information seems hard to find.





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(essential one-time reading)
Introductory Material:
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(the heart of the site)
The Series (alphabetical by character last name):
    Roderick Alleyn
 (Ngaio Marsh)
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 (G. K. Chesterton)
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 (Margery Allingham)
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 (P. D. James)
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 (Georges Simenon)
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    The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (Precious Ramotswe)
 (Alexander McCall Smith)
    The Saint (Simon Templar)
 (Leslie Charteris)
    Lord Peter Wimsey
 (Dorothy Sayers)
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 (Rex Stout)
    Yellowthread Street
 (William Marshall)



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